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Professor Lyon lectured in the Jefferson Physical Laboratory yesterday afternoon at 4 o'clock, on "The Cuneiform Inseriptions and Hebrew History." Professor Lyon said,-
It is always a question as to how one shall find Cuneiform inscriptions, and how read them. They are found through Babylon and Assyria. Three years ago there wers found in Egypt some wonderful letters written about too B. C., in the Cuneiform script. The Old Testament aids us largely. It is a series of old letters written at about the time of the Babylonian and Assyrian civilization. If certain persons had not found similar letters in the Persian language, it is probable it might never have been clear. Even then we might never have known the sequence of historical events in the Jewish nation if the Persian kings had not written their records in parallel columns, one in the Persian and the other in the Babylonian tongue. During the Babylonian and Assyrianan scendancy there lived among the Jews many of their great prophets. When the Jews were carried to Babylon in captivity these kept records of the events, and today we have libraries containing thousands of documents concerning Babylonian life and manners. This, however, is but subordinate to the inscriptions. If a faithful scholar had not with wonderful patience compared them piece by piece, and built up an alphabet, thus enabling him to read them, we might still be in ignorance. They are of value as regards the light they throw upon Jewish history.
We are indebted of course to the Bible for much of Jewish history. It goes back about four thousand years from our day. The Babylonians in this period were permeated with a spirit of conquest and roved over much of Westem Asia. Their life is clear to us from their records from 1000 B. C. down. About 800 B. C. the Assyrians also started out on a western campaign. Abeut 770 B. C. there came to their throne one of their greatest kings. A hundred years later the kingdom was in pieces.
Contemporary with this series of campaigns the Hebrews were living out their history. Up to 1000 B. C. is a time of preparation with them. Then came Saul, who gave the nation unity. They reached their greatest power and gtory under David and Solomon, who came shortly after. Soon they fell spart, into a Northern and Southern division, and for two centuries were engaged in wars. Invasion after invasion followed, until the great Assyrian king alluded to captured their leading city, Damascus, and put an and to the kingdom of Israel. He not only ended it, but over-ran all Judah, and even threatened Jerusalem, This we know not only from the Old Testament, but also from the records of the Assyrian kings.
Finally, the Cuneiform Inscriptions are important as making clear the general trend of history in Western Asia, and also of many strange names occurring in the Old Testament hitherto not to be accounted for.
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